More photographs were captured in 2017 than any year before. This has been the trend since photography began, and it will continue into the coming decades. More people are taking more pictures, especially since the inventions of digital photography and the cellphone camera. However, even though many more exposures are made today, fewer photographs are being printed. Digital photographs almost always are seen through a digital display. Most often they are viewed on small cellphone screens.
The problem with how we now view pictures is that they are quickly in and out of our minds. We see them for just a moment and then they’re quickly forgotten, rarely viewed again. Digital pictures are easily disposable. There’s nothing permanent or lasting about them. They are a dime-a-dozen, or, more accurately, a penny-a-gross. You are bombarded with digital imagery each day, and you barely pay attention anymore.
A physical print has more value because it is more permanent. You’ll look at it longer and more frequently. It gets hung on a wall, displayed proudly. It’s real and it’s rare. Maybe less people will see it, but those who do see it will admire it.
One thing that I did this year for Christmas gifts for family members was print photographs. I did not do this for everyone, of course, but for those who I thought might most appreciate it. I made canvas prints of places like the Grand Tetons and the central California coast. They’re beautiful photographs that I captured over the last couple of years, and they look especially nice printed large. These gifts were well received, with lots of excitement and gratitude by the recipients.
I traveled to Arizona for Christmas to visit family and friends, including my mother-in-law and her three sisters. I was able to take some quick portraits of them on Christmas Eve. Because the camera I used, a Fujifilm X100F, takes great-looking camera-made JPEGs, I was able to have 10 of the exposures printed that same day. I didn’t need or use a computer or any editing software. I uploaded the images straight from my camera to my phone and then uploaded them from my phone to the lab through their website. About thirty minutes later they were ready. It was very quick and easy.
Target was open late on Christmas Eve, so I was able to purchase some picture frames. The prints looked quite nice framed, and at about midnight I had the gifts all finished. The next morning, Christmas Day, I was able to give my mother-in-law and her sisters their portraits printed and framed. They loved them! It was a highlight of the season for them, and they couldn’t stop talking about it.
It’s not the first time the quick turnaround of the X100F came in handy. I was hired a few months ago and the client needed the photographs immediately. I was paid a high premium for this service, double what I would otherwise charge (I was offered the amount by the client at the outset). As soon as I was done capturing the pictures, I connected my camera to the client’s laptop via a USB cable and transferred the straight-out-of-camera JPEGs, no post-processing done or needed. I got paid double to do half the work, and I thought that this is how all photography jobs should be. He contacted me twice afterwords to tell me just how happy he was with the photographs.
Time is money, as they say. Or, at least, your time and my time are valuable. I dislike spending hours and hours at a computer manipulating photographs. I appreciate all the hours Fujifilm has saved me by making cameras that produce great results without the need to fuss. I’m able to use my time for other, more important things.